Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

The People of the State of Illinois v. Donald Harrell

July 18, 2012

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS,
PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,
v.
DONALD HARRELL, DEFENDANT-APPELLEE.



Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois. No. 10 CR 1717 Honorable Joseph M. Claps, Judge Presiding.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Murphy

JUSTICE MURPHY delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Presiding Justice Steele and Justice Neville concurred in the judgment and opinion.

OPINION

¶ 1 Defendant, Donald Harrell, was arrested on December 17, 2009, in Maywood, Illinois, by Chicago police officers with that police department's gang investigations unit. The officers, acting on a tip from an informant, recovered approximately 6,720 grams of cannabis, 3 grams of heroin, drug paraphernalia, and a fully loaded, semiautomatic, .25-caliber handgun from his home, also in Maywood, Illinois. Defendant was charged with possession of cannabis with intent to deliver (720 ILCS 550/5(f) (West 2008)) and unlawful use of a weapon by a felon (720 ILCS 5/24-1.1(a) (West 2008)).

¶ 2 Defendant moved to quash his arrest and suppress evidence, alleging that the Chicago police officers lacked authority to arrest him and did not obtain proper consent to search his attic bedroom where the drugs and handgun were recovered. Following briefing and a hearing, the trial court found that defendant was arrested for crimes committed in Maywood, Illinois, without anyone present from Maywood, state or federal police departments. Therefore, his arrest by Chicago police was found to be extraterritorial and any statements made related to his arrest were suppressed. However, the court found that defendant's stepfather had apparent authority to consent to the search of defendant's bedroom and denied defendant's motion to suppress the evidence discovered in his bedroom. The trial court denied the State's motion to reconsider. The State filed a certificate of substantial impairment pursuant to Rule 604(a) (Ill. S. Ct. R. 604(a) (eff. July 1, 2006)) and this appeal followed. For the following reasons, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

¶ 3 I. BACKGROUND

¶ 4 Defendant was arrested by the Chicago police on December 17, 2009. After defendant left from his home at 1912 South 10th Avenue, Maywood, Illinois, and entered into a red Ford Explorer with two other men, surveillance officers from the Chicago police department conducted an investigatory stop of the vehicle, curbing the vehicle at 1946 South 10th Avenue, Maywood, Illinois. The suspects were detained and returned to park in front of defendant's home. Chicago police officers were granted access to defendant's bedroom by Arthur Gipson, described as co-owner of the residence in the police report.

¶ 5 The officers discovered approximately 6,720 grams of cannabis, 3 grams of heroin, drug paraphernalia, and a fully loaded, semiautomatic, .25-caliber handgun. Defendant was charged with possession of cannabis with intent to deliver (720 ILCS 550/5(f) (West 2008)) and unlawful use of a weapon by a felon (720 ILCS 5/24-1.1(a) (West 2008)). Defendant filed a motion to quash arrest and suppress evidence alleging that the Chicago police officers lacked authority to arrest him and did not obtain proper consent to search his bedroom.

¶ 6 At the hearing on the motion, Arthur Gipson testified that he was defendant's stepfather and that in December 2009, he lived with his wife, Laquita Hunley, and defendant at 1912 South 10th Avenue in Maywood, Illinois. Gipson did not pay rent or make any mortgage payments on the house. Further, Gipson was not on the title for the house.

¶ 7 On December 17, 2009, Gipson was at home alone around 2:50 p.m. when a police officer came to the front door. The officer informed Gipson that they had defendant in custody, they believed there was cannabis in the house, and they sought Gipson's consent to search the premises. Gipson testified that he signed the consent, but admitted that defendant did not give him permission to do so and neither he nor his wife had recently gone into defendant's room. The police then searched the attic where defendant resided and then the entire house. Gipson did not accompany the police officers.

¶ 8 On cross-examination, Gipson testified that he was unsure if he had ever gone in defendant's room in the 20 years he lived in his wife's house and defendant never instructed him to stay out of his room. Gipson testified that the police did not ask if he owned the home, only if he lived there. He stated that he was given the option to consent to the search. However, he was told that if he did agree to a search, the homeowner would not be responsible for whatever was found, but if he waited, whatever was found would be charged to the homeowner. Gipson read the consent form and signed it before the officers began their search of defendant's room. Gipson testified that he had to return to work and was told the officers eventually inspected the whole house. On redirect, Gipson testified that he returned home about three or four hours later and saw defendant in the house with police officers and was presented with a search warrant.

¶ 9 Defendant testified that at the time of his arrest, he lived with his mother and Gipson at 1912 South 10th Avenue in Maywood, Illinois. Defendant utilized the attic of the house as his bedroom. Defendant testified that in the afternoon of December 17, 2009, he left his house and entered the back door of his friend's vehicle. Right after the vehicle started down the block, the police stopped the car, presented their guns, and told defendant to get out of the car. Defendant testified that the police searched him and the two other occupants.

¶ 10 Defendant testified that the police did not find any drugs or guns, but they handcuffed defendant and the other men and took them back to defendant's address. The police did not present an arrest or search warrant and did not request identification. The policemen did not request defendant's permission to search his home, but he watched them approach the door and then go inside. Defendant remained inside the vehicle the entire time.

¶ 11 Sergeant Darryl Spencer of the gang investigations unit of the Chicago police department testified that on December 17, 2009, he was at 1912 South 10th Avenue, Maywood, Illinois. Spencer was there along with other officers to investigate information from a confidential informant. The informant had just left the building after visiting a black male in the attic where he observed at least four to five pounds of cannabis. Spencer testified that when they formulated the plan to conduct a surveillance he contacted the Chicago police department's operation command center and the Maywood police department that they would be conducting surveillance. Spencer did not recall with whom he spoke.

¶ 12 Spencer testified that he was working with five other officers and they were all plain clothed and in unmarked squad cars utilizing push-to-talk radios to communicate. At about 2:30 p.m., one officer reported that he observed three black males, one matching the description of the man given by the informant, exit 1912 South 10th Avenue, Maywood, Illinois, and enter a red Ford Explorer. The officers saw the men enter the vehicle and begin to drive southbound and they stopped the vehicle. Spencer testified that he approached the vehicle and saw a man, defendant, in the front passenger seat who matched the informant's description.

¶ 13 Spencer did not observe a gun drawn. He learned that defendant identified himself and indicated that he lived at 1912 South 10th Avenue in Maywood, Illinois, and the officers proceeded to the home. Spencer was unaware whether defendant was asked if they could search the home. Spencer approached the door with another officer and Gipson answered. Spencer testified that he explained the information they received concerning cannabis in the attic and asked for verbal consent to search the attic. Gipson related that he was not aware of any narcotics in the house and consented to the search of the attic.

¶ 14 Spencer testified that the other officers obtained a consent to search form and asked Gipson if he understood it. Gipson stated that he did and signed the form. Gipson also stated that he was unaware whether defendant did or did not give consent to search his bedroom. Spencer and three of his partners entered the residence and searched only the attic and Gipson accompanied them the whole time. The officers recovered approximately 7,000 grams of cannabis, about 3 grams of heroin, a .25-caliber semiautomatic pistol, numerous rounds of ammunition, and equipment commonly used to package narcotics. In addition, Spencer recovered several pieces of mail addressed to defendant as proof of residence.

¶ 15 Spencer testified that when they completed this search, defendant was placed in custody. According to the police report, when he was placed into custody and read his Miranda rights, defendant admitted to the officers that " 'the drugs are not mine, I'm holding them for a friend named 'Trell.' He paid me with two ounces of weed to hold his stuff, but the pistol is mine. You won't find anything else in the house. I keep it all in my bedroom.' " The report also noted that defendant indicated that he " 'got [the handgun] about a year ago off the streets.' "

¶ 16 At some point after 6:45 p.m., Officer Villa returned with a search warrant and searched the entire residence. Spencer testified that he then notified the Maywood police department. However, no officers other than the Chicago police officers took part in the surveillance, searches or arrest.

¶ 17 On cross-examination, Spencer testified that he did not prepare any written reports for this case, but signed off on Officer Villa's report. Spencer testified that Gipson told him he was co-owner of the home; however, that was not indicated in Officer Villa's report while it was in the arrest report. While Spencer testified that he did not see any handcuffs at the time they stopped the vehicle and initially approached Gipson to search the house, he admitted that the report indicated that all three individuals, including defendant, were detained for investigative purposes but they were not placed in handcuffs and were free to leave. Spencer admitted that no search warrant was obtained or presented until after the cannabis was discovered, but testified that the process of obtaining one was started prior to the initial search.

¶ 18 The trial court conducted further examination to clear up some issues. Spencer testified that he first saw defendant and the other individuals in the vehicle when it was stopped. He then relocated to 1912 South 10th Avenue and remained in the house for most of the time until after defendant was brought back into the house and Villa returned with the search warrant. Spencer testified that defendant was in custody during this time and placed under arrest after they found the cannabis, approximately a half hour after the police stopped the vehicle. Finally, he testified that he provided no particulars when he contacted the Maywood police department about the surveillance they were conducting.

¶ 19 The parties provided closing argument on the motion. The trial court found that there was no offense committed in Chicago, there was no request to Maywood police to see if they wanted assistance, and did not clear their surveillance with any detailed information. The court found that there was no doubt that defendant was in custody, not free to leave, and, therefore arrested without warrant. However, the trial court reserved ruling on the issue of whether the Chicago police had authority to make an arrest. The trial court found that Gipson had apparent authority to consent and the police were justified in relying on that consent in their initial search.

¶ 20 At the next hearing, the trial court reiterated the findings noted above. In addition, it took judicial notice that the City of Maywood is not adjacent to the city of Chicago. Further, it stated that the language of the Illinois Municipal Code (65 ILCS 5/7-4-7, 7-4-8 (West 2010)) about police districts "is to make or instill common sense in neighboring municipalities['] ability to seek assistance from police officers in adjoining jurisdictions" and that allowing police to investigate crimes in other municipalities "would create chaos" and be "absolutely absurd." Since the police did not observe any activity within their jurisdiction, the trial court found that they had no authority to stop and put defendant into custody and it suppressed any statements defendant made related to his arrest. With respect to the search of defendant's bedroom and home, the trial court reiterated that Gipson had apparent authority to consent to the search and that the police were not required to undertake an investigation into his authority.

ΒΆ 21 The State filed a motion to reconsider and argued that section 7-4-7 of the Illinois Municipal Code (65 ILCS 5/7-4-7 (West 2010)) (Municipal Code) defined the territory of a police district as the entire county, thereby granting the officers police powers throughout the county. The trial court again rejected this argument, finding that the Municipal Code could not be read that broadly, but limited police authority to actually adjoining municipalities. The State filed a ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.